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Yikes....do planes really fill up overnight?!

I have been watching our preferred flights daily for a few months....prices have pretty much been consistent. Flying from CMH to MXP and returning from VCE in Sept of this year. Yesterday there were lots of seats available ( we want to book Comfort + for the TA legs-husband is over 6') and this am, the flights have huge blocks of seats unavailable, including all Comfort +. Do airlines randomly block seats to sell other classes? The flights are through Delta, Sept 5-21. We can go through Atlanta with Comfort + ( instead of JFK), however the return flight from VCE has no comfort + .....

Posted by
6902 posts

Do airlines randomly block seats to sell other classes?

It's not random, it's yield management through pretty sophisticated computer algorithms...if you check another time, you may see something altogether different because the pricing is variable and fluctuates. It works, since people panic and tend to buy right away instead of sitting on the fence if they fear they'll miss out. Just have a price you're willing to pay in your mind beforehand and once you see it, just buy the fare and don't look back. No average person can hope to understand or get the best of all the machinations that go into airline pricing - there are alleged rules of thumb but, frankly, I don't buy any of them.

Posted by
3372 posts

What happens if you shift your travel dates by a day or two?

As to what happened to the big block of seats, sometimes it's a code share thing, sometimes they have equipment (plane) changes with different seat configurations they may be sorting out or sometimes groups just buy up a big chunk of tickets. We've bought up 48 seats on a plane on a few occasions in the past.

Posted by
142 posts

Lol....well if they want me to panic, they have succeeded! ;)
I looked at the return flights M-Th from VCE and they all have big blocks of seats unavailable. Don't want yo try yo make a 0630 flight out of VCE.....there is RT availability through MXP, with decent connecting times (>2hrs) for same fare.....may just book that, and it will give us a little time in Milan. Geesh. I thought I had this figured out.

Posted by
142 posts

EDIT.... I just brought up our original flights so that I could call Delta, and what do ya know.....seats are available! I thought it was strange that the exact seats were blocked on the flights all week.....price is something we can live with, so I am booking....and not looking back!

Posted by
3372 posts

So do we rack that up to a computer glitch on their end and a few gray hairs for you?

Posted by
10694 posts

Now, even though you are far out, go back in to your My Delta website every 2 weeks or so and check on the reservation and seat assignments. At about 2 months out I check every week. Sometimes they change the airplane which will throw your seats off and sometimes they change the flight times.

You can sign up for email notification for each flight but I have found that I am not always notified of changes so I try to stay on top of it. I am never sure ~how~ I can get daily email from Delta with my FF # advertising specials that will never happen from my departure city, but I can't get notification of flight changes.

I am glad you have found the fare you can live with and that they seats were available today!

Posted by
815 posts

I have been watching our preferred flights daily for a few months. Yesterday there were lots of seats available ( we want to book Comfort + for the TA legs-husband is over 6') and this am, the flights have huge blocks of seats unavailable, including all Comfort +.

It's entirely possible you were bidding against yourself, so to speak. Airlines have invested enormous sums in their reservation systems to try to scrape every penny possible. Their computer system might have noticed a regular query for this flight that involved checking seats and decided to see if the requester might pop for business class once comfort+ seats were gone. No sale, so the comfort+ seats came back.

Posted by
7205 posts

Yep - airlines will spare no expense in attempting to screw every last penny from their customers...and then cramp you into a tin can and offer to allow your baggage on board with you for an additional fee.

And yes, depending on the size of the planes a small group can practically fill it up.

Posted by
1047 posts

Don't know about Delta/Alitalia, but United loads their schedule changes Friday night/Saturday morning. Oddball things have popped up on my reservations on Saturdays--everything from seat choice being erased, all seats blocked or open, or having the aircraft type changed to a type that United doesn't even fly (or, more interestingly, a regional jet making a transatlantic hop.) These often clear up by themselves without any intervention by me. I'm wondering you encountered the same thing.

Posted by
142 posts

I am naive enough to think it was just a computer glitch, as Eric described. I always access the flight schedule on my iPad...I had my husband log on with his laptop and he found the same schedule this morning. Just glad it resolved itself, and I can relax and begin focusing on train travel! We may be old enough to have retired, but this is our first European adventure, and I love researching destinations.

Thanks again......

Posted by
2154 posts

No, the airline did not track you to the point that they blocked the entire EC section so you would book Business. Paranoia is reaching a new level now

Delta is well know for computer glitches That honestly is what it was. Or they were making schedule changes, equipment changes etc which just created some temporary blocks

Posted by
765 posts

I do not know what airline you were tracking but I know that AIr France has only about 4 rows of premium coach seats on their Airbus 340 wide bodies and I think the other airlines are the same. The reality is that you were looking at a very small population of seats and it ran out. Try a couple of alternate dates.

You also might want to go on line and check out passenger comments on whether it was really worth it. Some airlines have seats in premium coach that recline by sliding the bottom of the seat-back forward. While this prevents the ugly situations when the seat reclines into somebody's face, it means your hubby loses all his extra leg room when he reclines his seat.

Actually we could make all the airlines much happier if we would just be so thoughtful as to send them money and not show up at the gate.

Posted by
765 posts

I do not know what airline you were tracking but I know that AIr France has only about 4 rows of premium coach seats on their Airbus 340 wide bodies and I think the other airlines are the same. The reality is that you were looking at a very small population of seats and it ran out. Try a couple of alternate dates.

You also might want to go on line and check out passenger comments on whether it was really worth it. Some airlines have seats in premium coach that recline by sliding the bottom of the seat-back forward. While this prevents the ugly situations when the seat reclines into somebody's face, it means your hubby loses all his extra leg room when he reclines his seat.

Actually we could make all the airlines much happier if we would just be so thoughtful as to send them money and not show up at the gate.

Posted by
823 posts

To All;

When checking ticket prices regularly, it pays to delete cookies from your browser everyday (check your browser's help or google "removing cookies”). Also, do not log into your airline loyalty program to monitor prices as all airlines use sophisticated dynamic pricing algorithms. (And it's not just airlines that do this, almost all big e-commerce sites do it.)

Posted by
2508 posts

Re last: It pays to delete cookies everyday. Why allow anyone to know where you have been?